Pioneering Change, Inc. is registered with the Internal Revenue Service as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization based in Gifford, Florida “dedicated to empowering our community and its citizens. Our focus is promoting unity, educating the citizens and developing and executing a plan of action to achieve self-sufficiency and community improvement.”
Gifford has a rich African American history where there are a number of pioneer families who are a permanent part of the fabric of Indian River County.
According to suburbanstat.org, 43% of the Gifford population is Black or African American. City-data.com reports that Gifford’s estimated median household income in 2016 was $32,824, compared to $ 50,860 for the State of Florida.
Pioneering Change’s one year Anniversary Barbecue is scheduled for Saturday, March 31, 2018. It is as an opportunity for families, especially students, to engage with the organization and become familiar with the efforts and goals of the organization.
According to Pioneering Change’s founder, Merchon Green, “we are dedicated to changing the dynamics of our community by establishing unity and strengthening citizens through teamwork, education, empowerment, entrepreneurship, civic duty, political and community involvement. We aim not only to be a point of reference for the community but but to be a resource for area need. The programs and policies we plan to put in place will increase knowledge and the mindset of generations to come. In the end citizens will be knowledgeable and self-sufficient.”
Merchon Green Engaging Citizens
Pioneering Change has been advocating in the School District of Indian River County (SDIRC) for the entire school year and their representatives are on various District committees. They are continuing to mobilize citizens and the numbers are growing.
Just recently they concluded their revisions to the District Code of Conduct so that it is easier for parents and students to understand it. Over 10 Gifford community members participated in the effort, which they hope will also lead to less disparity in punishment.
It was an “uphill battle,” according to Ms. Green. “We, the community members and parents had to insist the meetings be extended twice. The meetings were rushed. Information we had previously edited was not provided at each meeting. We had to insist we receive that information. We also had to insist that we be allowed not only to complete our sections but to review the document as a whole prior to the Board presentation.”
Last October, 2017 Pioneering Change conducted a sit-in at a School Board meeting to address the racial bias and discrimination in School District schools. Over 60 community members attended and at least 20 spoke up to address the school board members.
Ms. Green, herself, has spoken at numerous other school board meetings pertaining to the disparities of discipline, achievement gaps and the District’s lack of communication and connection with parents and the community, in general.
Once again, only one year old, Pioneering Change plans to address a number of areas including early learning preparation, college preparation, life skills, reading, job readiness, parenting, entrepreneurship, fiscal responsibility, home ownership and a variety of skills training. They are currently working on a mentoring program and a parent support group.
Pioneering Change is different than the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). NAACP’s mission is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.
Pioneering Changes mission is:
To foster innovative change, cultural, educational, civic and policy programs that advance four goals.
- Resolution to issues plaguing the community
- Creation of future leaders
Pioneering Change is different than the Gifford Youth Activity Center (GYAC) because their focus is primarily on the student. Pioneering Change aims to educate not only students, but every member of the family. Ms. Green said: “We are working to build strong boys, girls, women, men and even stronger families.
“My experience with the SDIRC is very disappointing because every meeting I attend, the District constantly attribute the failures in the District to lack of parental involvement. Yet, here I am a community member with over 50 relatives attending schools in the District who is actively involved in the District, and my experience has not been a welcoming one.
I was optimistic when I joined the committees because I truly felt if I got involved that I could assist with making change. But I quickly learned that District staff and some board members aren’t open to hear the views of teachers, parents, students, nor the community. It feels like no one truly has the opportunity to be heard and considered if they don’t have an office in the District building.”
Pioneering Change has community meetings every month from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM.
April 23 / May 28 / June 25 / July 23 / /August 27 / September 24
For further detail about these meetings please email: firstname.lastname@example.org